Who's Your Daddy? by Kyle Phoenix

The lack of support from the father is what is missing.  When I analyze the result of the behavior of most of the unstable males & females. The father is missing.....Quality time with the child...Educating the child. Guiding. Discipline. Inspirational support not only needs to come from the mother but the father as he plays an important role. It takes two to rule the child. Two is greater than one.

You can accomplish more together than apart. The strongest support...that creates a well all rounded child...this comes from the black man muscular image he brings into the family household....There are well organized and aware, open and active plans to destroy the masculine image of the black male but you can never destroy something that is destined to be great..REMEMBER...no weapon formed against us shall prosper....Rise up, my brother, be the great leader that you are; like the 1991 song by Ed O.G. and Da Bulldogs says - Be A Father To Your Child....Now that's Real Hip Hop that is missing when you listen to modern rap music.

This was such a fantastic post that came into my inbox that I wanted to not only share but really push it out into the world. I know I often write and teach about Black and Latino men and errors in life courses and in perceptions. I am struck by the price of how many men are growing up without father figures. I was lucky. Though my parents broke up soon after I was born, a decade later, they married (and then divorced again) but my mother was shrewd. Upon their break-up we worked with a Black therapist for several years about the divorce and my mother made sure that my three stepfathers, were real father figures. They had to make commitments into my life and the home life as husbands not transitory boyfriends. Though two of them have passed away I have fun memories of one, Terry, teaching me to cook (he was a professional chef---the steaks and lobsters he used to pack the freezer at home with was insane! And he one time showed me how to make Chinese fried rice from scratch when I was 9.) and Jesse, the other teaching me to drive and about sexuality. I often reflect that by the time that I moved out to go off to college at 21, I'd only not had a father figure in the house for maybe 3 or 4 of those years. Not thinking about that, I didn't notice the value, the work until I would be around other Black and Latino men and see their lack of father-parenting.

We all know that 70% to 80% of Black and Latino households are single parent, mainly mother run. We also know that a brown woman will tell you in insanity that she is both mother and father. Because what else can the abandoned claim but competence when the expert is absent? A single mother is not enough, there are lessons, strategies, ways of dealing with identity, sexuality, work, education that only a man, a man invested in you who maybe even looks a lot like you, can help young men navigate. I often see young males with the sagging pants, and while I've released my jury from verdict on that, I reflect that I never could have gotten away with that with my fathers present. Terry was a fashion hound. Gucci slippers, matching sable coats and hats for he and my mother, finely pressed Italian suits to change into before and after his shifts at country club restaurants. Jesse was much more of a social man who knew everyone in New Jersey and could teach you about people and communicating with anyone. My biological father, Robert was a master strategist from the Black Panthers, the Black Liberation Army and a prisoner's rights attorney who would checkmate me in four moves with the Queen's Gambit then refuse to play me again for twenty four hours unless I could figure how to undo it. (I eventually did....when I was 30.) My mother's husband now for the past 20 years, Michael has been a stalwart husband and supporter to my mother so that I was able to go freely into the world without having to stay close to home as I see other Black men do.

Don't get me wrong, there were legitimate reasons and dysfunctions why my mother and fathers broke up but my experiences of them, of their manhood lessons are mainly positive. And even the ones that are negative gave me examples and ideas of what not to do, of why not to let wounds fester, of how to deal with one's identity rather than submerge or hide it, of being a man of integrity and of his word, who purposefully has never harmed anyone weaker than me and been able to stand up to those stronger. Sometimes talking to male friends they start "quaking" at the concept of doing something and confronting someone and striking out on their own and I realize what it must be like to not have some Daddy Backbone in you. That Daddy Backbone has allowed me to travel to cities with nothing but the clothes on my back and work my way up from there; to go off to school; to get on airplanes and leave the country; to treat men,women and children well and lovingly; to start businesses since I was 7 years old; to confidently say to confrontational men "we can take this outside right now"; to endure racism and imprisonment and unfairness and injustice and just downright wrongness because I knew my name and how to hold my head up.

I look forward to sons. Not simply to instill but to more importantly greet new souls, new people into the world and offer some lessons for them to share forward to their children. No matter a man's sexuality, I believe he has a responsibility to a level of parenting and I'll throw out that the standard/requirement for MSM is often lowered because they don't meet and have to deal with many single fathers who want a stable male partner, like they would with women. Women and children demand and test the maturity of a man but father's prepare little boys. Because little boys, no matter their physical age, see men, women, children and animals as sources of gratification until they grow up. Then as men, they become givers, protectors and cherishers, and view other men (partners), women, children and animals and recipients of their loving bounty. When they grow up without fathers, who will teach them what a man is? What a man does? And if they grow up with dysfunctional abusive, philandering, lying, destructive men, then they grow up to either directly or passive aggressively seek to undermine and hurt men, women, children and animals. The only recourse then is therapy to undo and stay diligent to potentially destructive ways.

But a whole lot of time and money can be saved by good Daddies at birth or good Daddies who come along and step up to parenting boys. Now the question simply put is, who's your Daddy?

Thank you,
Kyle Phoenix
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